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Anti-Semitism Speech by United Nations Secretary-General

This speech on Jewish persecution and the Holocaust connects many themes of human rights and identity. In the 1940’s, Nazi Germany subjected Jews to a widespread genocide on the basis of their ethnicity and religion. Beneath the discrimination there was a need to unjustly blame a minority group for large national problems. Even though nearly sixty years have passed since the end of World War II, the issue of racial discrimination is still an important issue today that needs to be addressed. This speech transcript is an effective tool for learning to recognize historical and modern-day phenomenon because it encourages the reader to draw parallels between examples of past and present religious persecution. In his speech, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan ties in the topic of universal human rights, mentioning the necessity of promoting peace and social justice. Annan eloquently points out that human rights are universal and not specific to any religion or ethnicity, reasoning that anyone true to the principles of their religion would not “be neutral in the fight against intolerance.”  This speech is particularly meaningful because it stresses the universality of human rights.  In numerous instances, Annan suggests that the protection of human rights is everyone’s responsibility, and should not be confined to individual organizations or people.

Annan, Kofi. “Throughout History Anti-Semitism Unique Manifestation of Hatred, Intolerance, Persecution Says Secretary-General in Remarks to Headquarters Seminar.” United Nations. 21 June 2004. Web. 18 July 2011. <>.



Indonesia: Monitor Trials of Deadly Attack on Religious Minority

This news report from the Human Rights Watch (HRW) details a modern example of religious persecution in Indonesia against a religious minority called the Ahmadis. This issue has received a considerable amount of news coverage, as the problem has many social and political repercussions that make addressing the violation of human rights controversial among Indonesians and the international community alike. The attacks on the Ahmadis in February resulted in eight casualties. Members of Human Rights Watch, including Elaine Pearson – deputy director of HRW Asia Division, have spoken out against this display of violence, urging Indonesia’s Judiciary Commission to oversee the trials of 12 people accused of launching the attack.

“Indonesia: Monitor Trials of Deadly Attack on Religious Minority.” Human Rights Watch. 2011. Web. 11 July 2011. <>.



From ‘privileged’ youth to afternoon of carnage

This report from CNN on Norwegian terrorist Anders B. Breivik gives a detailed account of Breivik’s terrorist attacks, and offers insight into the origin of his hostility towards the Muslim community of Norway. Breivik’s attacks occurred on July 23, 2011 in Norway’s capital, Oslo. In total, seventy-six people perished from the bomb explosions and shootings planned for that day. This article provides good background information on Breivik, and has a reasonably complete summary of the attacks he carried out and the damage they caused. While the article itself is a secondhand account of what actually happened during the attack, it is useful for gathering background information on the topic. Linked to the webpage are several videos and other articles that share the stories of people who witnessed the attacks firsthand. Overall, this article is an excellent resource for investigating examples of modern hate crimes and persecution based on religion and ethnicity.

“From ‘privileged’ youth to afternoon of carnage.” CNN News. 28 July 2011. Web. 28 November 2011. <>.



After Norway massacre: Will this country ever be the same?

Thorbjorn Jagland, former prime minister of Norway and current secretary general of the Council of Europe shares his thoughts on the terrorist attacks of July 2011 in Norway, in this opinionated piece. His reflections provide intriguing insight into the general public’s perception of terrorists and religious extremists prior to the Norway attacks. He asserts that the term “Christian terrorism” is no more appropriate than “Islamic terrorism” because “there is nothing in either Christianity or Islam that can justify terrorism.” His article illuminates some of the mechanics of terrorism and separates them from religion and spirituality. Throughout the piece, Jagland reiterates his conviction that multiculturalism is inevitable and essential, and Europe must embrace it to prevent violence and abuses of human rights.

Jagland, Thorbjorn. “After Norway massacre: Will this country ever be the same?” The Christian Monitor. 3 Aug. 2011. Web. 5 Aug. 2011. <>.

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